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FDA unsure about cloned meat safety

/ Source: The Associated Press

Advisers to the government want more information before federal health officials conclude that meat or milk derived from healthy cloned farm animals is safe to eat.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration issued its preliminary attempt at assessing this emerging technology and said food products from cloned farm animals do appear safe. But the FDA stressed that it had not yet decided whether to allow cloned animals to enter the food supply — a freeze is in effect — and that it wanted public input.

The FDA on Tuesday asked for that input from a panel of its scientific advisers. While no formal vote was taken, “what they said was, ’We don’t feel comfortable stating it’s safe without additional information,”’ FDA veterinary medicine chief Dr. Stephen Sundlof said after the meeting.

Sundlof said the advisers did not see all of the data that the FDA has assessed; a 300-page report should be out soon.

After getting public reaction to that report, the agency will decide if cloned farm animals need formal federal approval before being sold as food. That decision is expected to take another year.

Still, critics said that the wariness from the FDA’s advisers was important.

“FDA sent a message last week that these products are safe,” said Carol Tucker Foreman of the Consumer Federation of America. “I want to know if they’re now going to correct that.”